After last night’s dominant performance, which saw every player in a Knick uniform score a point except Jared Jeffries, the former Hoosier has been rewarded for his non-basket scoring impact with a spot in the starting lineup. From ESPN’s Chris Sheridan:
Jeffries was cheered (usually, he produces only groans) for the hustle plays he kept making, on the glass and on the baselines as he sailed into the stands to keep balls alive. There may finally be a semi-permanent place for him now that he is back, and Tuesday night’s game demonstrated that there is always a place, even on a high-octane team playing unusually efficient offense, for a guy who can make a difference without producing a single point.
So get used to seeing Jeffries out there.
The job is his to lose, and he won’t lose it if his hustle plays continue to outnumber his shot attempts.
I like this a lot. Jeffries is a thin guy, and having him guard opposing centers in one on one situations is a heavy mismatch, but the incredible hustle and energy he brings on the defensive end has been very noticeable over the last two games. This also frees up Amar’e from playing the five, risking early foul trouble in the process. Despite his visible weakness on the offensive end, having Jeffries play with Carmelo and Stoudemire when the Knicks have possession is important; he’s great at tipping balls out and keeping scoring opportunities alive for others. Ronny Turiaf can now move into his more natural role of big, energetic body off the bench. Smart move by D’Antoni.